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Sunday, October 01, 2017
Cultural Nationalism vs Technical Progress: Telescope Protesters Make More Cash Demands
By Andrew Walden @ 8:00 PM :: 2012 Views :: Greenmail, Higher Education, OHA

by Andrew Walden

Anti-telescope protesters sharpened their cash demands in the wake of this week’s 5-2 State BLNR vote approving telescope construction.

Everybody who is paying attention has known for years that the telescope protests are all about money. 

Anti-telescope leaders apparently want to re-direct millions of dollars away from science education and towards “revitalization of (the Hawaiian) language and culture.”

Sept 29, 2017 AP interiews Kahookahi Kanuha, a protest leader:

“This is our time to take back all of the things that we know are ours. All the things that were illegally taken from us.”…

Kanuha dismissed the millions that telescope officials have paid toward educating youth on the Big Island in science, technology, engineering and math. So far, $3.5 million has been paid into the educational fund, even while the project’s construction permit was invalid.

That money isn’t the answer to improving the lives of Native Hawaiian youth, Kanuha said. Revitalization of language and culture through Hawaiian-focused education is what’s important, he said.

A group of Native Hawaiian telescope supporters formed a group called Perpetuating Unique Educational Opportunities. Some members had been against the telescope in the past, said the group’s attorney, Lincoln Ashida.

“We believe that with increased opportunities for children, that results in stronger families, which in turn benefits our community,” Ashida told the board….

The Star-Adv Sept 28, 2017 reports:

Former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka has endorsed the construction of the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope in his new autobiography, saying the cutting-edge observatory will generate “huge” educational opportunities and jobs for the Hawaiian community.

In his new book, “One Voice — My Life, Times and Hopes for Hawai‘i,” Akaka said Mauna Kea carries “tremendous mana,” and it’s easy to see why some people consider the mountain sacred.

“But like the opinions on Hawaiian self-governance, that view is not universal,” he wrote. “Is the entire island, down to the seafloor, sacred? Or is it the part of the mountain above sea level? Or is it just the top of the mountain? And if so, sacred to whom?” ….

And the reply?

Mauna Kea Hui leader Kealoha Pisciotta, among the staunch opponents of TMT, said Akaka is not a cultural practitioner of Mauna Kea and therefore will not be impacted if the TMT is built.

“That is why there are laws in place to protect traditional and cultural practitioners and their practices, so that nonpractitioners don’t overrun them,” she said.

Is this really an either-or question?  

Its so easy to say 'no', but, for the protesters, the answer apparently is 'yes'.

The more technical progress, the less attractive cultural nationalism becomes.

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